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Reading Piaget's subject: Contradiction and the discursive politics of genetic structuralism

McHoul, A.W. (1986) Reading Piaget's subject: Contradiction and the discursive politics of genetic structuralism. Discourse: Studies in the Cultural Politics of Education, 7 (1). pp. 98-115.

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If a spectre still haunts Europe, it is the spectre of structuralism. This paper sets out to give an account of the discourse of structuralism as instantiated by Jean Piaget's writings on the general epistemic and individual developmental subjects and by the various readings of Piaget that have come to prominence of late. It is assumed that these 'readings' are an inseparable part of Piagetian discourse insofar as some putatively 'pure' Piaget is not available outside readings of the corpus signed in his name. In particular this paper seeks to show that a number of 'surface' contradictions available from the manifold possible readings of Piaget are underpinned by a 'deeper', more constitutive contradiction between the theoretical and the empirico-descriptive components of Piaget's genetic structuralist epistemiology. The paper then goes on to examine some of the social practices and techniques - particularly in respect to surveillance - that Piagetian structuralism has engendered.

Item Type: Journal Article
Publisher: Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group
Copyright: 1986 Taylor & Francis
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